• YS Flight


    By David Jordan (8 June 2004)

    Go to any Swedish furniture store, and you'll see that less is more. Download YSFLIGHT and you'll see that this is the case for flight sims too. It's no Janes F16 or FS2004. But it is the only flight 'simulator' that I feel happy to fly while writing this article, making a phone call, surfing the web... Flight dynamics are pretty poor, the rudder has no useful effect, and if you know how you can hover an F-18.

    But this is a game, not a simulation, and this is where YSFLIGHT excels. It comes with 7 maps and 40 planes, but it's very easy to create your own maps, objects, planes and flight models through simple editing of text files - or there's a thriving online community with well over 200 maps and 1000 planes. However, almost all of these websites are in Japanese: YSFLIGHT is a Japanese game and my understanding is that it's fairly big in Japan.

    You could pootle about in a 747 at 35,000 feet, but this would be a bit pointless - YSFLIGHT is at heart a combat flight simulator. Planes can have 500 pound bombs, fire and forget air to ground and air to air missiles and rockets, as well as the ubiquitous cannon. The ground targets are generally defended by both surface to air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries. For counter measures aircraft are equipped with flares. Weapon performance is wholly unrealistic (visually, the AAM/SAMs are Sidewinders, have a range of about 5 nm, are affected in their lock on by radar cross section, are deflected by flares and set off alarm bells in the target aircraft simply by locking on) but made more exciting by being so. There are several ways you can fly against AI aircraft, either by setting up the planes to be in specified positions with specified skills, or selecting either Endurance or Intercept mode, the former throwing fighter after fighter at you until you get shot down, the latter generating wave after wave of bombers which must be stopped before they get to your base. On all these missions you may have wingmen too.

    The real fun of YSFLIGHT though is multiplayer. The main program can be either a client or a server. Up to 16 YSFLIGHT clients can join a YSFLIGHT server, although it should be noted that there are only up to four teams. Once on the server you are there until you leave or get kicked off. If you die, you are resurrected, and you can do anything that you can do in the full game, including introducing AI aircraft. Or perhaps you might just want to fly in formation.

    And did I mention that it is freeware?

    When all's said and done, YSFLIGHT is a great simulator for poor-performing computers, or laptops, or just something when you need a quick five minute flight. On my computer, from deciding to launch it to being at 30,000 feet at mach one takes less than a minute. Where it comes into its own, however, is as a multiplayer game. There's a thriving English-Speaking YSFLIGHT community at www.ysflight.tk, or you can download the full game from www.ysflight.com. Try it - it's only 6 megs.

    David Jordan
    [email protected]


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